Negotiation comes into play when two parties have different preferences in a single decision that will affect both. Negotiation provides a venue for parties to present ideas to each other, as well as provide an often cheaper and faster alternative to resolve conflicts. On the other hand, negotiation also offers major disadvantages that negotiators should watch out for.
Negotiation often takes a wrong turn when one of the negotiators of either of the two parties is a better and more experienced negotiator. Since negotiation is a process, it allows both parties to present their concerns and ideas about a deal. It takes a lot of expertise, both intellectual and social, to properly present and argue deals. If the talent level is lopsided, this can lead to deals being struck in favor of the better negotiator as opposed to the best interest of the two parties – it can also lead to manipulation.
When both parties want to get the best offer they can, negotiation often leads to long-term research, discussion and multiple meetings without any resolution. This process can take very long since each meeting can lead to another issue that will add to the negotiation table. Because negotiation is an ethical process, each issue that arises should be discussed openly.
Negotiation is often equated to evenly “slicing the pie” so that both parties get the best deal on both ends; however, this same process can lead to mediocre deals and worse options than other alternatives. This negotiation disadvantage is known as “agreement bias.” Since negotiations are already laid on the table, parties sometimes feel obligated to agree upon something, even if the deal will make one party suffer.
A “lose-lose” negotiation occurs when both parties settle for an agreement, leaving both of them at a disadvantage. This occurs when both parties are so concentrated on cutting the best deal on their end that they fail to recognize alternative options or “win-win” situations. There are several reasons why negotiations can turn into a lose-lose situation, including incompetent negotiators and inadequate research methods.